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Addressing Age Gaps in the Workplace

While many baby boomers are putting off retirement until their late 60s, millennials have slowly emerged as the largest demographic in the American workforce. Due to this reality, older professionals are finding themselves being hired, managed and working with people much younger than they are.

This generational gap is bound to cause friction in the workplace, and companies need to take measures to ensure that all their employees are getting along and collaborating effectively, regardless of age.

Below are a few things companies can do to address age gaps in their workforce.

Start a Mentorship Program

Professionally speaking, baby boomers and millennials can learn a lot from each other. Millennials can learn precious insight from decades of experience in a particular field. Boomers, on the other hand, can learn new methods or tools to solve a problem.

Developing a cross-generational mentorship program can add significant value to your company by allowing the different generations learn new skills from each other. Furthermore, those in the program are more likely to walk away from it with greater mutual respect, admiration and understanding.

Regular Technology Training

One of the biggest sources of friction between millennials and baby boomers in the workplace has to do with technology. Older workers may be hesitant to learn new skills so close to retirement, while millennials might grow impatient with co-workers who are reluctant to keep up-to-date with the latest software and operating systems.

As the employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that all your workers are on a level playing field when it comes to the technology they use on the job. Make it as easy as possible for the boomers in your workforce to stay current. Tailor technology training sessions in a way that avoids embarrassment for anyone and maximizes knowledge retention.

Emphasize Positive Culture

If your employees are not enthusiastic about the company they work for and the job they do, then the stage is set for clashes between people with differing backgrounds. In order to avoid age-based conflicts, or any kind of conflict for that matter, your company should work diligently to build a positive sense of community within your organization. Team-building exercises and social events allow your team members the opportunity to share their personal background and develop mutual respect for each other – which feeds into a positive workplace culture.

Being transparent with your employees can also add to a positive workplace culture. By giving your team periodic status updates, you are sending them the message that they are all working toward the same goals.

At Thompson Technologies, we have access to talented workers from every generation. If your company is currently looking for an infusion of experience or recent college grads, please contact us today to learn about our custom staffing solutions.

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